ZED PILOT: Dale Mracek's 1971 Datsun 240Z
Photography: Dale Mracek.
When we put the call out recently for cars to feature here on the Fuel Tank app and website, Dale was one of the first to send through photos of his stunning 'Z'. We've been getting lots of positive feedback about the new Japanese content that we've been publishing recently, so here's the next dose for all you JDM fans.
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
My name is Dale Mracek, I'm an airline pilot and part time automotive photographer.
Tell us about your first love for cars, right back when you were young. What inspired you?
My dad is a mechanical engineer and I remember when he and Mum both had Morris Minors. I'd say he pulled the motor out of both them on multiple occasions using the garage beam as a homemade engine hoist/pulley. When we were a little older he taught us to ride dirt bikes and showed us how to pull apart the engine and rebuild it. That was the beginning of my love affair with anything automotive. It also demonstrated to me from a young age that you could fix, maintain and modify things yourself.
What was your first car?
Unfortunately nothing cool, a 1990 Holden Nova, but it was where I furthered the things I had learnt about working on cars and bikes. Any work was done by myself and my mates. Wheels, suspension, stereo install, general maintenance, I did it all.
How many cars have you had?
About nine I think which have included; a Nissan 180SX, two S13 Silvias (one is currently a drift car), an S15 200SX and I just sold my 2002 BMW 745i (which was my first dabble in Euro cars).
Why Japanese cars specifically? Are you into other genres?
Japanese cars have a huge amount of history and nostalgia I think. In the early days, there were some really great looking cars with some advanced mechanics for the time. I feel they are also reasonably easy to work on with some simple but clever engineering. In recent times I've had an increased interest in old European cars as well.
What are we looking at here?
1971 Datsun 240Z
When and how did you come to own it?
I've owned the car for about eighteen months now. I had been keeping an eye out for quite some time but wasn't having much luck until a good friend of mine found it through some contacts he had in the ‘Zed’ forums. I purchased it on first viewing!
In what condition was it when you bought it?
The exterior was in great condition just a few small rust spots, not unusual for a Zed. The engine had also been rebuilt but it was not running as well as it could have been. The suspension needed some work with leaking shocks and the alignment was awful. The interior was in original condition, but considering its age was pretty good over all.
What were your intentions back then?
My intention when I bought a zed was to always make subtle exterior improvements and modifications inside and out whilst maintaining the era of the car. I don't think the 240Z needs much as it’s such a beautiful and iconic shape. My Dad even owned one just after he finished university.
Now list all the modifications that have been done to the following, including any interesting facts and/or stories to go with them:
Body & Paint
Datsun White (bare metal respray about 4 years ago)
High gloss black Zed air dam. It took three attempts to get right with paint due to the poly urethane material!
Carbon fibre 432 style boot lid spoiler
Carbon fibre number plate surround
Datsun competition steering wheel and gear knob
Seats to be re-trimmed soon
L24 with triple DOCE 40 Webers (now tuned and running nicely)
CT58 702 cam
APR rod bolts
Heavy valve springs
Mild porting with flat top pistons
L28 intake valves
Block bored and decked to 60 thou
15x8 and 15x8.5 Work Equip 01 on 205/60/15 Khumo
Techno Toy Tuning (T3) front and rear fully adjustable coilover suspension set up.
T3 adjustable front lower control arms and torsion rods
T3 adjustable rear lower control arms
Z logo door locks
Z oil dipstick
Z oil cap
Front and Rear Cusco Strut braces
Do you take the car to events? How is the social scene that goes along with owning a classic?
The first event I've had the car at was the recent Macedon Grand Tour which was two days of driving through northern Victoria. I believe the social scene is ever increasing with classic car owners as was evident at the recent Classic Japan Day and Melbourne Datsun Day. Some web forums seem to be more active again in recent times also. The Datsuns certainly have a big following now in Australia.
There's always something to work on when owning a classic car. That's part of the deal! I plan to tidy up the interior more with new carpet, replace/repair the dash and re-install original speedo. Those are the main ones. Other than that just drive and enjoy it. I do have an L28 with gear box sitting in the garage but I'm undecided what to do with it yet. I would like a Hako or Kenmeri Skyline next but that’s a while off yet.
Follow Dale: @mracekproductions.